Pierogis and Kielbasa: Sound and Smell During COVID-19

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Pierogis and Kielbasa: Sound and Smell During COVID-19

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Before the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns began, hearing or seeing a loved one seemed almost a certainty. Although I worried for the safety of all my friends and family, I was most concerned with the well-being of my aging, immunocompromised grandmother. As a daughter of Eastern European immigrants, she was accustomed to eating ethnic Polish food. Throughout my childhood, she would kindly make pierogis and kielbasa sausage for me and my sister. The savory aroma of pierogis and kielbasa sausage cooking in sauerkraut inundated the senses. With the onset of the pandemic, however, my life, as with so many others, changed. Unfortunately, my grandmother is not accustomed to using video-chat services; however, hearing her voice over the phone or social-distancing on her porch allowed me to maintain contact, hear her voice, and smell the wonderful aroma of the food she always made for me as a child. Although momentary, the loss of hearing my grandmother’s voice as well as her delicious food made me realize how important it is to cherish the connections you have with your loved ones. During a time of uncertainty, tragedy, and disconnection, a loved one’s voice (as well as the food they make) can provide an emotional uplift.

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This item was submitted on June 27, 2021 by Aaron Rau using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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